The Point Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant may undergo significant changes, not only in how it operates, but who operates it.

City officials have suspended the current operator, Veolia Water, after tears were found in some of the plant’s equipment. The cover for one of the treatment tanks allowed putrid gasses to escape, deteriorating the quality of life for residents around the plant.

While Voelia Water has tried to contain the smell, they have been waiting for a new cover to be delivered.

Even after that new cover is fully installed, the city wants assurances that the plant will be operated correctly, safely and efficiently, before allowing the company to resume operations.

For now, a coalition of various local government agencies is operating the plant.

From the Richmond Confidential:

Veolia Water’s days running the Point Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant may be numbered after Tuesday night’s city council meeting.  The council passed a measure to direct city staff members to prepare a list of all feasible legal options to handle wastewater treatment in Richmond, including the dissolution of the city’s current contract with the multinational company.  They also voted to block Veolia from restarting full operations at the site until they are satisfied that the facility can be operated reliably and safely.

“We need to look at everything, every option that is reasonable,” said Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who proposed the two wastewater issues.

Solid waste processing was shut down at the wastewater treatment facility in early October last year after several tears were found in the cover of the plant’s anaerobic digester, which uses microorganisms to break down solid waste.  Since then, the company has been hauling about a hundred trucks of solid human waste each week to an East Bay Municipal Utility District facility in Oakland rather than conveying it through underground pipes.  This costs the company between $20,000-$50,000 each month, according to Chad Davisson, the city’s wastewater manager.

Read the full article here.